Photo: Deon de Bruyn
Photo: Minnie de Bruyn
10/06/2007 23:15 - (SA)
Virginia Keppler, Beeld
Pretoria - While the owner of a smallholding in Strydfontein, north of Pretoria, lay dying of his wounds, an armed robber spat on his wife's finger so that he could force off her wedding ring.
Deon de Bruyn, 49, his wife Minnie and their daughter Mindie had been paging through photo albums in "a trip down memory lane", just a few hours before.
Minnie says she woke up at about 02:30 when she heard footsteps.
"Two men suddenly appeared in our room and switched on the light".
"One had a firearm and the other was carrying a hammer in his hand. I saw another man going into my daughter's room."
De Bruyn said she screamed, waking her husband.
"My husband also screamed. As he tried to get up off the bed, he was struck with the hammer. Then the other man fired two shots at him, hitting him in the chest and hand.
"He staggered to the bedroom door, where he collapsed and began to struggle for breath," a heartbroken Minnie said.
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Mindie had been tied up in the lounge.
The men in the bedroom shouted "Where's the money? Where are the guns?" at Minnie.
"I had to show there where everything was and in the process I had to step over my husband several times, but I couldn't even help him.
"I was too afraid to ask if I could."
Ring wouldn't budge
One robber told her to take off her wedding ring, but because it wouldn't budge from her finger, he left it at that.
However, the other one insisted.
"He grabbed my hand and spat on my finger. Then he twisted and pulled at the ring, spat again and twisted, and pulled, until he got it off."
Before the robbers fled, they made Minnie sit next to her daughter, tying her hands with the cord from an iron, and her feet with the cord from a cellphone-charger.
The killers fled with two firearms, a DVD player, R400, jewellery, watches, two beers, clothes, cellphones and R50 from Mindie's purse.
"One of the robbers held out Mindie's boots to her and said he was going to give them to his wife.
"She was calm and just said: 'That's wonderful. You can have them'.
"Then they were gone."
Minnie said seconds after the robbers fled from their home, her husband stopped breathing.
Minnie and Mindie untied each other and went to the neighbours for help.